"My biggest concern with Javy last night -- no [swagger]," Mattingly said after Guerra allowed two hits, a walk and a run in two-thirds of an inning. "The lack of a bounce in his step, the confidence, the commitment that 'I'm going to get you out and I know it.' I think that's what scared me last night, and we talked about it today."
Nonetheless, Mattingly said he would not swap the roles of Guerra and setup man Kenley Jansen, even if fans and media perceive Jansen's overpowering stuff more suited to closing.
"I don't know what the assumption is for the fans and for you, but I've got to make a decision right now to try to win games and do what's best for the club," Mattingly said. "When Kenley gave up a couple home runs [it was], 'He did the right thing [making Guerra the closer].' Javy has a couple bad days, [it's], 'Oh, make a change.'
"We're 21 games in. What happens if you make a change and it doesn't work? Drop [Mike MacDougal] in there? [Josh] Lindblom? It's a tryout camp at that point. I'm not panicking on any level with anybody. Dee [Gordon] is struggling. Do I hit the panic button? Am I worried? Yeah, but I'm not throwing the plans out the window. I understand the clamoring, what people say I should do. I don't think it's the right thing."
Guerra opened the season with five saves and a win in his first six games. But in his last six games, he's lost three times, blown two save opportunities, and allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. That included Wednesday night, when he took a Brian McCann line drive off the jaw and kept pitching, only to lose the game.
"I can't say [the loss of swagger] had anything to do with being hit," said Mattingly. "He was hit in the face, and if I had known, I should have pulled him out. But 10 days ago, he was rolling with a bunch of saves and you're asking if we're using him too much. I've got to keep thinking long term. This is temporary. We can't worry about the clamoring."